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Hung jury in deadly DWI trial
Rochester, N.Y. -- After two weeks of testimony and three days of deliberations, a Monroe County jury was dismissed of its duties and a hung trial was declared.
The jury, made up of 11 men and one woman, could not come to an agreement on a verdict in the DWI and manslaughter case of Taylor Carbonaro, 23.
Carbonaro faced charges for a February 2012 crash that killed his girlfriend at the time, Mallory Hale, 24. The two were returning home from a bar and crashed into a pole, a tree, and a parked pickup truck on Lake Road (Route 19) in the Town of Sweden.
Both victims were thrown from the vehicle and deputies and emergency workers testified about statements Carbonaro made at the scene that involved him admitting he was drinking and behind the wheel.
But at trial, Carbonaro's lawyer presented witnesses and evidence that suggested Hale was actually the one driving the car. Medical testimony suggested Carbonaro suffered severe head injuries, doesn't remember what happened,and could not have been speaking intelligently at the time.
Three jurors told 13WHAM News after the trial that the jury could not come to agreement on who was behind the wheel.
"It was a tragic case, it was a very difficult case and we did our best to try to get this resolved, but we just couldn't reach unanimity," said a fourth juror who spoke to 13WHAM News.
A new trial is scheduled for October.
"The evidence establishing that my client was not the driver was clear. It really was indisputable," said Carbonaro's lawyer, Matthew Lembke. He added that he looked forward to presenting the evidence to another jury. "I do, because our case is really based on science on photographs on things that don't forget, don't change."
"There is no doubt that these people paid very close attention to the evidence, and I respect them for their service and it is unfortunate they couldn't come to that decision," said Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Darren Pilato. "I don't feel, looking back on it, there was something we could've done better. I mean, we really put forward a great case and I look forward to doing it again."
Hale's father and brothers were in attendance often throughout the trial. The lack of a verdict and knowledge that another trial is many months away was difficult to accept.
"It does seem a little perverse that the justice system can let this drag on," said Mallory's father, Mike Hale. "At this point, it'll be three years before we get back to court in October."
Carbonaro was someone the Hale family cared about. At the time of the crash, he was living with the family. Since then, the two families have not been able to speak and the Hales have told 13WHAM News that knowing the accused so well only makes emotions more confusing and challenging.
As the family has since the crash, the Hales continue to use Mallory's death as a message to the greater community about the dangers of drinking and driving.
"This is real. People die. You make a choice sometimes there's no coming back from it. I know I'd like to direct it just to young people, but it's not always them," Mike Hale said while choking back some tears. "Make that choice, pick up the phone, make that phone call (because) there is somebody out there that cares. There is somebody out there that doesn't want to be here three years from now having this same conversation. ... Like I said, this is real you don't come back from this."